Video Game: Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne
aka: Shin Megami Tensei Nocturne
The third numbered sequel
in the main Shin Megami Tensei
JRPG series, and the first since Shin Megami Tensei II
in 1994. It was released for the PlayStation 2
in Japan in February 2003, in America in October 2004 and in Europe in July 2005. It was released as a Playstation 2 Classic on the Playstation Network on May 6, 2014.
. You and two of your high school classmates
have gone to visit your sick teacher in hospital, only to find that the building is eerily deserted
. The search for your teacher leads you down into the basement of the hospital, where you find evidence of sinister occult experimentation and a mysterious man who is none too happy about your intrusion. Just as he's about to have you killed, you are rescued by the intervention of your teacher, who convinces the man to let you live
and takes you to the roof.
There, you witness the Conception: the destruction of the old world
and its transformation into an embryonic state- the Vortex World
- to prepare for its eventual rebirth. Tokyo becomes a spherical world
populated by demons and the wandering spirits of those who died during the Conception, with a glowing sphere suspended in its center. You have survived... but during the Conception you encountered a mysterious young boy who forcefully implanted you with a creature
called a Magatama, transforming your body
into that of a demon.
Waking up in the hospital with your new demonic body, your struggle for survival in this new, hostile world slowly becomes a battle to determine what form the new world will take. On one side is the Assembly of Nihilo, who wish to create a world of complete stillness and peace, devoid of emotion
. Opposing them is the Mantra, a powerful gang who believe in ruling by strength, passion and fear
As the legendary Demi-Fiend, you have the power to decide the fate of the Vortex World. Will you side with one of the emerging armies to help make their idea of a perfect world a reality? Or will you destroy them all
and take the power of creation into your own two hands
The game is largely a dungeon crawler, as you make your way across the ruins of Tokyo looking for answers and your missing friends. Gone are the cyberpunk elements of the previous Shin Megami Tensei
games; as your character is a demon you have no need to use a computer to translate and summon. Your party is made up of the main character and the demons that you have recruited to your cause
. By talking to demons, you can convince them to give you money, items or to join your party. Most will demand money and items as a bribe before they will listen to you, but some will also pose a philosophical question that you must answer to their satisfaction.
As demons level up extremely slowly, the quickest way to maintain a strong team is to fuse your demons together
at the Cathedral of Shadows, creating entirely new demons with new powers and some inherited from their previous forms. A handful of demons will also evolve once they have reached a certain level. The Main Character develops by equipping different Magatama, each of which has a set of abilities that will be learned upon leveling up. An additional degree of difficulty is added by the fact that your character can only know eight skills at any one time, and must forget moves to learn new ones; once they are forgotten, they are Lost Forever
Battles are conducted with the Press Turn system, where at the start of each round you receive a number of actions equal to the number of characters in your battle party. A normal action consumes one Press Icon, but inflicting a critical hit or attacking the enemy's weakness only consumes half a Press Icon. Thus, by attacking the enemy's weaknesses you maximize the number of turns you get in one round. Unfortunately, attacking an enemy with an element that it is strong against- or missing entirely- consumes two Press Icons, and if the enemy repels or absorbs the attack you lose all your Press Icons. This also applies in reverse; the enemy can attack your weak points to win additional actions for itself and loses actions if you defend yourself correctly. This battle system would go on to be used in Digital Devil Saga
and in a scaled-down form- the "One More" system- in Persona 3
and Persona 4
In January 2004 the game received a Updated Re-release
in Japan known as Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax
. It balanced a few of the game mechanics, added in a massive optional dungeon (and a new ending and Final Boss
if you complete it) and featured Dante of Devil May Cry
fame as a Guest Fighter
. Considering that you are a demon and Dante is a demon hunter, you don't exactly meet on good terms. Fortunately, it was this version that was localized and released in the West. In PAL territories it was known as Shin Megami Tensei: Lucifer's Call
due to copyright reasons. A second Updated Re-release
named Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne Maniax Chronicle Edition
came free with Japanese copies of Raidou Kuzunoha vs. King Abaddon
, replacing Dante with Raidou.
This game is a must-buy for any RPG
enthusiast looking for a greater challenge than your average game and change from traditional fantasy settings. From the ruins of Vortex World Tokyo to the eclectic demon designs and the awesome rock/techno music of Shoji Meguro, there's just no other game like it. Though physical copies are now hard to come by, the game has hit the Playstation Network Store.
This game provides examples of: